Barbara Vine was the pen-name of Ruth Rendell, and Viking published all of her books under that name. Rendell was an exceptional crime writer, with worldwide sales of approximately 20 million copies, and regular Sunday Times bestsellers. Rendell won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View, a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986, and the Sunday Times Literary Award in 1990. In 2013 she was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger for sustained excellence in crime writing. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer. Ruth Rendell died in May 2015.
In the middle ages a gallowglass was the personal guard of the Celtic chief: the food taster, the right hand man, the expendable one who would die for his leader. Ruth Rendell, writing as Barbara Vine for the fourth time, here presents a tale of kidnapping, obsession, and loyalty told by two men thrust into the part of modern gallowglass. The Princess, a former fashion model with a penchant for marrying older, rich men, is the target once again of the man who had been her jailer five years before when she was held for ransom in Italy. She is protected by Paul Garnet, a failure as husband and teacher, now trying to be a good father to his seven-year-old daughter. The author plays cat and mouse with the reader as Garnet and Little Joe, the second gallowglass, reveal the motivations and weaknesses of her characters. A true master of psychological suspense, Rendell/Vine is in top form here as tension builds to a totally shocking climax. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/89.-- Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., Ohio
In ancient times, a gallowglass was the servant of a Celtic chieftain; in Vine's novel, it is Joe Herbert, a young drifter, recently released from a mental institution, who is mesmerized by Sandor Wincanton, an educated, handsome, but mysterious ``swell'' who wants Joe's help for a kidnapping. The intended victim is former model Nina Apsoland, the ``princess'' whom Sandor helped kidnap five years ago when she was married to an Italian prince, but whom Sandor freed after he fell in love with her. Now, Nina is guarded well--her current husband is an expert in security and he has hired the massive ex-teacher Paul Garnet as a combination driver and bodyguard. Written by a master in psychological suspense (Vine also writes as Ruth Rendell), this is a gripping tale. The spellbinding first-person narrative will carry readers briskly into the heart of the story, and while the ending is a bit of a shocker, teens who want more meat in their suspense will be well served by Vine. --Diana C. Hirsch, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, MD